How and why to pray when Christian Leaders Sin

How to pray? Gather the people, the elders, the priests, the children, even nursing infants, and bride and bridegroom and let them say, ‘Spare your people, O Lord . . . why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ (from Joel 2:16-17).

Why to pray? The Lord might turn and relent and leave a blessing behind him (Joel 2:14).

Prayer and Sin, from Isaiah 1

“Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean. . . . Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good (Isaiah 1:15-17).

Powerful prayer and sin can’t coexist. Mercifully, the Lord offers hope and help for those who struggle with sin.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” Says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).”

Pray from a heart purified by the blood of Jesus.

Pray for a Clean Heart

We’re remodeling our kitchen. We emptied it – of everything – so we can fill it with the new.

My heart needs remodeling too.* I need to be emptied of sin and self so I can be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

First I pray, “Cleanse me from my hidden faults. Keep me from deliberate sins. May my words and meditations please you, O Lord (from Psalm 19:13-14).

Then I pray, “Strengthen me with power through your Spirit so Christ can make his home in my heart (Ephesians 3:16-17).”

*Inspired by Robert Boyd Munger’s book, My Heart-Christ’s Home.

How Joshua prayed after defeat

After the victory at Jericho, the Israelites were soundly defeated at Ai. Joshua prayed, “O Sovereign Lord, why? Lord, what can I say now? What will happen to the honor of your great name? (from Joshua 7:7-9).

The Lord answered, “Israel has sinned. Command the people to purify themselves. The guilty one must be punished (from Joshua 7:10-15).”

Be ready to confess sin when you pray.